Do You Let Yourself Enjoy the Moment or Miss it Completely?

by Jayne Kopp on March 6, 2011

Enjoying the Moment

Enjoying the Moment

Well? Do you let yourself enjoy the moment … or do you just exist in it? Worse… do you exist in the past or the future instead?

I know it might sound like an unusual question, but I’ve thought a lot about this recently.

The truth is, I know that I don’t always enjoy the moment the way I should, but I’ve also realized many times I’m simply not in it at all!

If I’m not sounding clear, I’d like to ask you to take a close look at your subconscious habits to prompt you to think about a thing or two.

I’m also hoping this might strike a cord with you and if it does, perhaps you’ll join me in changing a few things.

I’ll start by asking a few questions just to clarify my point:

**Have you ever gone out to meet a friend for lunch, (or similar) even though you really didn’t ‘feel’ like it or feel you should because there were other things you thought you should be getting on top of? Then, throughout your visit you couldn’t stop thinking, fretting and feeling guilty about all of the other things you thought you should be doing instead?

**Have you ever been involved in a conversation with someone but you only caught half of it and didn’t really absorb the experience because your mind was on something else?

**Have you ever attended an event and missed half of what was happening because something else was occupying your thoughts?

**Last but not least… have you ever gone for a meal somewhere and perhaps allowed something like heavy traffic or poor service to overshadow the enjoyment?

I can answer a resounding yes to all of these things and could kick myself for doing so.

It sounds a bit daft really, but I became clear on these quirks only last week when my daughter was telling me a tale and caught myself. (Or rather, she caught me!)

During her chat, she asked me a question and I answered “yes” when the response really called for a “no”. In other words my answer didn’t fit her question at all.

She gave me a funny look and said “Mom… were you even listening to me?”

I froze and tried to recall what she’d said but had no choice but to “fess up” and ask her to repeat herself.

It was then I realized I was too busy thinking about what I was making for dinner and the work I wanted to accomplish later on.

I stopped in my tracks and sat her on my lap and made a conscious effort to listen to every word she said (the second time around…poor little thing :-( ) and reflected on the many other times I’d done the same thing.

I then got to thinking about some days I take my son to Karate and sit through his class staring blankly at his activities while pondering other things I deem important at the time instead of paying attention to what he was doing.

I thought about the times I’ve had unexpected visitors when I was in the middle of something and privately felt guilty about taking time out to have a coffee and a chat rather than just being thankful for the visit.

I’m not saying I’m like this all the time. But there have been times that in essence I’d allowed myself to miss out rather absorb the experience and enjoy the moment.

I thought today would be a good time to bring this up because as a result of realizing my shortfalls, I made a conscious effort to change and I pulled it off with top marks! :-)

I spent the day downtown Vancouver at my daughters cheer leading competition. It was a bit of a zoo; parking was in short supply, the crowds were huge, and frankly it was nothing short of chaotic.

I decided not to get my knickers in a twist when the parking attendants told me the lot was full. My mom was with me and a little stressed about finding somewhere to park as well.

I simply said “never mind… we’ll find one” (a parking spot that was) and took one final lap around the parking lot.

Low and behold just as I was about to leave the grounds to search elsewhere, there sat a perfect little parking spot for me to slide into right by the entrance!

With that behind us we went inside. Kids and parents were packed like sardines; there was nowhere to sit and it seemed to take an eternity to shuffle through the crowds to get to where we needed to be.

It was a bit of a gong show… but because I decided not to let things get to me and be a big deal… they really weren’t.

I remained focused on the fact that I was there to watch my daughter and her team and that this competition meant a lot to her, and decided just to accept that it “was what it was” and soak up the excitement of the day.

I met lots of people, as well as ran into many I hadn’t seen for a while and the day was nothing short of perfect.

I also made a point of not drifting off into deep thoughts of the ‘what I should be doing instead’ zone, such as grocery shopping, laundry, housework, blogging, etc. and just to leave all this other ‘stuff’ behind knowing it would wait.

It was truly amazing how this mindset made such a difference.

I was right on the ‘things will wait’ part too! They did wait and I’ll be catching up tomorrow! :-)

Furthermore, to finish off the day perfectly, was that one of my friends (my daughters’ little friends Grandma) asked if I could drive her home, close to where I live, as she had caught a ride to the event with someone else.

Of course I was pleased to have her join us and we went on to have the most wonderfully inspiring and eye opening conversation on the way home. (I’ll be sharing this tomorrow so please keep a look out!).

The day was perfect. I can honestly say that by being present and deciding to enjoy the moment instead of subconsciously creating reasons why not to.

I know that so many times we peculiar little beings conjure up and fabricate reasons to feel guilty and put pressure on ourselves unnecessarily.

The truth is, we deserve to enjoy life and should, instead of fabricating a reason why not to.

Life can be IS too short and we should live it to the fullest. Our kids grow and get busy doing their own things and before we know it and we won’t always have them with us wanting to spend time with us and share their daily experiences.

Our friends are important too. They are also a huge part of what makes our world go around and they too enrich our lives. This should not be taken for granted.

We are important and deserve a break to smell the roses.

Everything else can usually wait. Besides thinking about things doesn’t achieve anything… and it’s ridiculous to miss out on the “here and now” because we allow our addiction to mind chatter to cloud the present moment.

There’s a lot to be said for a saying I heard a while back: “There are things in life that can’t be gotten back: The stone once thrown, the word once spoken, the event once missed and time”

It’s true. Why bother participating in the joys of life if we’re not going to make the most of it and rather fret about other things instead?

Next time you find yourself drifting off rather than listening or participating in life’s simple treasures, make a conscious effort to snap out of it and bath in the experience. It’s rewarding, very fulfilling and much better use of your time.

Do you allow yourself to be fully aware and be fully present in all of your activities to thoroughly enjoy the moment or do you drift sometimes and get in your own way only to realize you’ve missed out? Please share your thoughts below!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Timo Kiander March 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Jayne,

This is a very important topic – glad that you brought it up!

I have difficulties of being present, although I’m getting better at it. I realize that living on “autopilot” is not life at all and I think I have missed many moments because of that.

Anyway, thanks for the reminder!

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Jayne Kopp March 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Hi Timo, thanks so much for coming and it’s wonderful to meet you.

I like that term ‘living on autopilot”… ah yes… I do it well although it is not the way to live and I, like you, am much better at it than I used to be. (living in the here and now that is! :-)

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April Williams March 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Jayne,

This post really hit home with me. Any MOMpreneur knows that building a business takes sacrifices and I am struggling with ensuring that I am building my business consistently while at the same time keeping the sacrifices to a minimal.

This post was really encouraging I really needed that! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

April

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Jayne Kopp March 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

HI April, and goodness, I am sorry for the late response.

I totally missed responding.

I know what you mean. Its hard when you are working so hard on your business “for your children” that you sometimes tend to lose focus on them. Silly really but we all do it.

I try to turn my thoughts off when they are around these days and really soak it all up. It will be a continuous work in progress!

Lovely to see you.

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karlene March 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hi Jayne,
That is so me in your post!! Being present in the moment is something I really struggle with and I think it has to do with our ever present talent of multi-tasking! I have been made aware of the fact that multi-tasking is not always the greatest talent to put into action at all times and I think its for that very reason, we cannot possibly be present in the NOW if we are constantly giving thought to our next project but my oh my am I ever a guilty one in this picture!!!

What I am doing to help me be more present in the moment is to put my all into the project at hand while I know that my other work is on my list and I will get to the list one project at a time. My productivity has noticeably increased and with that comes a feeling of peace and satisfaction of a job well done. Now don’t think that this has been an easy change and I still fall into the old trap sometimes but the feelings and culture this new behavior creates is so empowering and a huge positive in my life that I don’t care to revert back to being “everywhere” at once!:)

Thanks again for a great post Jayne, I love to be a part of your journey and I thank you for sharing from your heart!

Take care and God bless you!

Karlene

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Jayne Kopp March 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Hi Karlene, I am so glad you could relate. I can’t agree enough about putting your all into one project. I suppose when you put it that way and tilt the habit towards work, its all about focus isn’t it.

This shows that focus is always necessary, even when it comes to focusing on our loved ones and friends. I think if we could all focus on the here and now – regardless of what ‘it’ is… we’d all be more productive and get more enjoyment and satisfaction out of everything we do.

Lets make a pact to continue to self-talk ourselves into staying in line. I love to hear from you. I will be over at yours soon.

Jayne

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Rowena Bolo March 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Hi Jayne,

I am just grateful to see your post this Monday morning (in Singapore). Yesterday was not a good day for me, I canceled meeting up with a friend because I was too worried about all the things I needed to do :( …But guess what, I felt so guilty after canceling that the day also turned out not so productive.

I will never do this again as I’m sure my friend was a bit frustrated. Aside from growing our friendship, I also know that having conversations with friends, acquaintances give us that much-needed break from everything “online marketing”.

I so love practicing awareness and being in the moment. It is a challenge for anyone, but to be able to ‘get’ it makes so much difference in all aspects of life. Whenever I feel down, I remind myself to ask this question – Am I happy NOW? And now means right at this very moment, not a few hours (even seconds) ago, and not thinking about what will happen a few hours from now. And I know you’ll agree that the answer is always a YES! This may sound easy to do, but I believe that with ‘practice’, this very question would always open up feelings of gratefulness.

Thanks for sharing your story… We’re only human to be tempted to think of the past or future, but yes we can always take control of our subconscious, by being present in the NOW.

~Rowena

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Jayne Kopp March 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Hi Rowena, I am so glad you pointed out the fact that after you canceled with your friend that your day still wasn’t productive! :-) I’m only smiling because it’s like ‘karma’ HA! See it just goes to show that we SHOULD just go with it and enjoy. I think that’s what we’re supposed to do.

I’m so glad you are into personal development as well. It’s very personal isn’t it? LOL…(I’m actually writing on this phrase in the near future)… but we all have our own ways to deal with things… I’m so glad we all suffer from the same shortfalls, (more often than not that is!)

Thanks for your thoughtful and energy packed comment! Jayne

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